Lawmakers look at new assessments in Wall Street bill for housing aid

Lawmakers finalizing the Wall Street overhaul bill are considering new assessments on big financial firms to cover the costs of $4 billion in housing aid.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was originally looking to redirect money from the $700 billion financial bailout to support $3 billion in housing assistance and $1 billion for city and state efforts to ease foreclosure problems.

A Frank spokesman said an assessment could now fall on banks with at least $50 billion in assets and hedge funds with at least $10 billion in assets.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has pushed hard for the $3 billion in housing assistance for unemployed homeowners to make their mortgage payments.

"If we pass this bill without doing anything to prevent foreclosures--if we fix Wall Street and ignore Main Street--we will have done a disservice to our country," Waters said in a statement on Tuesday.